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Save our Scarlet Robin

April 2018

The Save our Scarlet Robin program is a broad scale initiative working to halt the decline of this iconic species. The program, conceived and led by South East Local Land Services, is delivered by a consortium of partners and targets four hotspots across the South East. From the grazing country west of Delegate in the south to the Bredbo and Michelago plains, the peri-urban grassy woodlands of Burra and Googong and the grazing country around Braidwood where Robins are historically well known.

The ten year scope of the program, funded by the NSW government through its Environmental Trust, offers a good chance of having legitimate outcomes for the robin across its range. A suite of a further 8 threatened woodland birds will benefit from on-ground works, monitoring and awareness raising.

The scarlet robin is generally seen within our project target areas during autumn and winter, leaving their higher altitude breeding areas to forage across the landscape. With these landscape movements in mind, a series of workshops have been organised across our project areas to help land mangers improve their skills in identifying threatened woodland birds and to understand important habitat features required within our local landscapes to benefit these populations.

Thanks to our project partners Kosciuszko 2 coast, Molonglo Catchment Group and Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council, these learning opportunities have been made available to the community in Tombong (near Delegate), Michelago, Googong, Burra and Braidwood.

At our recent event, held on 8 April in Tombong, Felicity Sturgiss (South East Local Land Services) used the property to illustrate how other land managers could enhance the habitat values on their properties for threatened woodland birds by integrating stepping stone plantings, riparian restoration and enhancing existing remnants.

Felicity highlighted how these actions also have provide farm productivity outcomes, by offering shelter to livestock, assisting with erosion control and paddock sub-division.

Some of the habitat improvement measures include:

  • leaving fallen timber
  • planting individual paddock trees or tree corridor
  • creating stepping stones (small separated patches of plantings)
  • fencing off riparian zones to exclude stock and reduce grazing pressure
  • planting shrubs to enhance mid story vegetation
  • increasing size of existing small remnants.

Damon Oliver (OEH) offered expert insight and advice on the birds including the hooded robin, the flame robin, diamond firetail, speckled warbler, brown tree-creeper, gang-gang cockatoo, glossy black cockatoo and dusky woodswallow which are all reliant on a woodland habitat that offers structural complexity such as increased tree canopy cover, a shrub layer, ground cover, logs, fallen branches and leaf litter.

Another workshop will be held on Googong on 4 May which will provide community members access to this range of expert advice along with discussion of activities being completed by local land managers.

Within the Save Our Scarlet Robin Project, land managers have the opportunity to seek advice in enhancing habitat values on their own properties and may also be able to access financial assistance to put some of these recommendations in to action.

For more information about the Googong community workshop or opportunities for individual land managers, contact Felicity Sturgiss or Simone Horn in Braidwood on 4842 2594.